Based on the "Ballad of Barbara Allan", "Dark of the Moon" now being performed by the FJC Drama Department deals with an isolated mountain community and the metaphysical powers of religion and witchcraft which shape the village.
The plot deals with a witchboy (Tom Milne) who has fallen in love with Barbara Allen, played by Jacque Sherrill. Begging to be made human so that he may marry the girl, his wish is granted.
However, the religious fervor of the villagers when they discover who he was and the powers of witchcraft combine to force his downfall.
Drama and Comedy
Last Saturday's audience had to be content with a few dramatic moments and a few moments of comedy. Very short on plot the show offers a few interesting twists on the "Boy meets girl, boy loses girl" theme. The play offers little more.
Director Winston Butler has chosen to introduce something new to the play however. Instead of the usual opening of witchboy calling to Conjurman (Mel Lockett) and Conjurwoman (Polly Norby) to change him, the witches of the mountain, Janice Crow, Pandora Ernst, Linda Rogas, and Patty Richard perform a modern dance.
Working behind a burlap curtain, the dance is both chaotic and powerful. A definite supernatural mood is achieved, but the dance is rather long and the effectiveness of the mood is jeopardized. Why Butler made the addition is a mystery, other than perhaps his efforts to "dress up" a shabby play.
Stars Lack DepthTom Milne's performance as witch boy was good, moving about the stage cunningly during the transformation scene, however, his portrayal as John lacked any feeling or depth. He was unconvincing whenever speaking of his love for Barbara Allen. Miss Jacque fared little better. At times she completely dropped her accent (a problem most of the cast suffered). In scene two she upstaged
herself, suggesting little concentration on her part Act two moved much quicker, indicating the actors picked up the pace and became more involved in what they were doing. The "revival meeting" probably offered the best dramatic moments. Mike LaValley's interpretation of Bible thumping Preacher Haggler was convincing. Mr. LaValley serves as catalyst to the whole scene, extoling his "flock" to repent their sins, he masterminds Barbara Allen's rape by her old suiter, Marvin Hudgens (Lance Danks). Mr Danks performed fairly well, but there were times when his cynicism reached the point of being almost ludicrously slapstick. The revival scene was one such time. The scene is moving and builds to a good conclusion. The cast functioned as one tight unit and everything after this moment is anti-climatic.
Glen's Set "Adequate"
Todd Glen's set is adequate.The cragginess of the trees and gray tones of the boulders complement the evilness of the witches and drabness of the villagers. Saturday's performance was hampered by technical difficulties within the control of the stage crew. A few lighting problems occurred and a snap wire dangled above the actors for a few moments during act one.
Costuming by George Stoughton affirmed the religious back woodness of the townspeople. Most interesting was the dressing of the
witches. Departing from the longnosed, black-hat image, all four
wore leotards and tights and elaborate hairdos. Black capes
wouldn't have made it with Ralph McCoy's choreography.
This reviewer found the innovation well chosen, considering what the director had to work with. The cast did a decent job, considering what they had to work with. However, "Dark of the Moon" is a mediocre play. The Drama Department owes itself and its audience something better.